Biography of Kalidas – The Shakespeare of India

Mahakabi Kalidas was a famous classical poet and playwright of Sanskrit. He was famous as a great poet and made a glorious contribution to Sanskrit literature. Kalidas’s poetry brought a unique quality to literary works. His writings are heart-touching and an intellectual behaviour for thinkers and ordinary readers. Much about his life is unknown except what can be inferred from his poetry and plays. His works cannot be dated with precision, but they were most likely authored before the 5th century.

Biography of Kalidas

Biography of Kalidas

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Table of Contents

OccupationPoet, Dramatist, Playwright
LanguageSanskrit, Prakrit
Period4th – 5th century
DiedGupta Period

Early Life of Kalidas

Mahakabi Kalidas was a Classical Sanskrit author who is often considered ancient India’s greatest poet and playwright. There are some doubts about the exact time of birth of Kalidas. However, he was the royal poet of a king named Vikramaditya ruler of Ujjain. A legendary king named Vikramaditya is said to have ruled from Ujjain around the 1st century BCE. Kalidas had a great knowledge of the whole of India by visiting the whole of India during those days. For example, the poem “Meghdoot” describes his description of mountains, rivers, cities and villages with full pictures. The description of the beauty of the Himalayas greatly impresses the readers. In another kalidas’s poem “Raghuvansh”, he discussed the place, people and their lifestyle, their habits, professions and business.

Nothing is yet clear about when and where Kalidasa, a literary scholar and great poet, was born. But scholars have different opinions about his birth. It is believed that Kalidas was there from 150 BC till 450 BC. Scholars have speculated that Kalidasa may have lived near the Himalayas, in the vicinity of Ujjain, and in Kalinga. This hypothesis is based on Kalidas’s detailed description of the Himalayas in his Kumarasambhava, the display of his love for Ujjain, in Meghaduta, and his highly eulogistic descriptions of Kalingan emperor Hemangada in Raghuvamsa

In the sixth century, Banabhatta mentioned Kalidasa in his work, and Kalidasa is mentioned in the record of Pulakachin II of this time. Thus, Kalidasa is believed to have been born between the first century BC and the third century AD.

Writers also have different opinions about Kalidasa’s birthplace. According to some opinions, Kalidas was born in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand, while the Government of India has constructed a auditorium in Kaviltha village as well as a statue of Kalidasa.

At the same time, let us also tell you that in this auditorium, every year in June, a three-day literary seminar is organized where scholars from different parts of the country come to participate there.

The great poet Kalidasa is also said to have been illiterate in childhood, he did not understand things and had knowledge about anything. But later he became a scholar of literature and got the status of a great poet of Sanskrit literature.

Information about who was the parents of the great poet Kalidasa and what his name was is also not available. His wife’s name is said to be Vidyottama and Kalidasa’s wife is said to have been a princess. When Kalidasa was married to Vidyottama, Vidyottama did not know that Kalidasa was illiterate. But one day when Vidyottama came to know that Kalidasa was illiterate, she expelled Kalidasa from her house and asked Kalidas to return home only if he become a Pandit. After which Kalidasa attained knowledge and became a great poet and playwright.

Also Read : Biography of Kamala Das

Marriage Life of Kalidasa

The great poet and philosopher Kalidasa was married to Princess Vidyotama. According to folklore a scholarly princess once decided to find a suitable groom by testing men in her kingdom for their intelligence. When no man is able to pass the test some scholars fraudulently allowed Kalidasa, an uneducated man for an interview with the princess. In another version, the court’s chief minister is insulted when the princess rejects his son’s marriage proposal, To avenge this insult, the minister finds the most unfit person, the shepherd Kalidasa, to send to the princess. Princess Vidyottma agreed to marry Kalidasa and accepted Kalidasa as her husband.

Kalidas’s Journey towards Becoming a Great Poet

In any case Kalidasa fares poorly, and is greatly humiliated by the princess, few days later, when Princess Vidyattama came to know about Kalidasa’s faint intelligence, Then she was very sad and insulted Kalidasa and threw him out of the house that he should not return home without being a real scholar.

What was then that Kalidasa, humiliated by his wife, resolved to get education and decided to become a true scholar and he left home with this resolve. Thus challenged, he visits a Kali temple with a true heart, is inspired to learn Sanskrit, studies the Puranas and other ancient texts, and becomes a great poet.

After which he became the ultimate scholar of literature with the blessings of kali. Then, he returned to his home, and gave his wife a voice, after which Vidyottma heard at the door that a learned man had come.

Thus, he gained ultimate knowledge after his wife’s curse and became a great poet. Today he was considered one of the best poets in the world, not only this, but no other poet like Kalidas has been born in Sanskrit literature yet.

Kalidas Literary work

Kalidasa has written many works. Some of which are considered to be the very best works. Below is a list of some important works written by Kalidasa.

Epic poems

Kalidasa is the author of two mahakavyas Kumarasambhava( Kumara meaning Kartikeya, and sambhava meaning possibility of an event takiing place, in this context a birth Kumarasambhava thus means the birth of a Kartikeya) and Raghuvansa (“Dynasty of Raghu”)

Minor poems

Kalidasa also wrote Meghdooth or Meghaduta (The cloud Messanger), a khandakavya (minor poem). It describes the story of a Yaksa trying to send a message to his lover through a cloud. It is one of the Kalidasa’s most popular poems and a numereous commentaries on the work have been written. Kalidasa also wrote the shyamala Dandakam descripting the beauty of Goddess Matangi.


Abhigyan Shakuntalam (“Of the recognition of Sakuntala”) is generally regarded as a masterpiece. It was one of the first Sanskrit works to be translated into English, and has since been translated into many languages. Malvikagnimitram tells the story of King Agnimitra, who falls in love with the picture of an exciled servant girl named Malavika. Other notable plays of Kalidasa are – Vikramorvasiyam, Abhijnansakuntalam etc.

Kalidas’s language style

Kalidasa’s language was simple and eloquent, in his language he used simple language and sweet words so cleverly in his writings that people read it and loved it.

Mahakabi Kalidasa uses all the styles easily in his poetry. In his works he describes the seasons which are commendable works and at the same time he has used them in poetic compositions and plays keeping in mind the idealistic traditions and moral values, for which Kalidasa is said to be more popular and greater than other poets.

Mahakabi Kalidas’s place in literature

Mahakabi Kalidasa has the highest rank in literature, he has the title Mahakabi in literature and Kalidas is known to be the greatest poet and gained greatest knowledge of Sanskrit language. The expression of love is more mentioned in the writings of the great poet Kalidasa’s works and plays are very popular.

For all these reasons, Kalidasa is known as Mahakabi which makes him different from other poets of literature.

Characteristics of Kalidas’s composition

1. Kalidasa used decorative, simple and sweet language in his works.

2. Kalidasa also describes the seasons in his works which are commendable.

3. Music was a major part of Kalidasa’s literature. Through music, poet Kalidas alighted his works.

4. Kalidasa described idealistic traditions and moral values in his writings.

Thus, Kalidasa made his mark in the hearts of readers through his works and was called the scholarly poet of the world. Kalidasa’s determination to become a scholar paved the way for his success and today his fame is in every corner of the country. After his wife’s curse and humiliation, he became a real poet and became a great poet of literature and became an inspiration to the people.


Kalidasa has had a great influence on several Sanskrit works, on all Indian literature. He also had a great impact on Rabindranath Tagore. Meghaduta’s romanticism is found in Tagore’s poems on the monsoons. Sanskrit plays by Kalidasa influenced late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century European literature.


1. Abhigyan Shakuntalam was whose composition?

Ans: Abhigyan Shakuntalam is the work of Mahakabi Kalidasa.

2. Kalidasa was the royal poet of which king?

Ans: Kalidas was the royal poet of the king Vikramaditya.

3. Who is the composer of Meghdoot?

Ans: The composer of Meghdoot is Mahakavi Kalidasa.

4. When was Mahakavi Kalidasji born?

Ans: No date related to the birth issue of Mahakavi Kalidasji has been confirmed.

5. Which great Indian poet has been named as the epic and playwright of Sanskrit literature?

Ans: Mahakabi Kalidasa has been named as the epic and playwright of Sanskrit literature.

6. What was the real name of Kalidasa?

Ans: Devanagari Kalidasa.

7. Who is known as Shakespeare of India?

Ans: Mahakabi Kalidasa is known as the Shakespeare of India.

8. Where was Kalidasa died?

Ans: Gupta Empire.

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